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Clarification of competences: Competence spotting

Brief description

In this exercise, the students must identify the academic and personal competences which have been brought into play and developed in their university studies. You as a teacher may use the tool for competence spotting both in your teaching and in student activities between sessions.

Motivation for the exercise and required outcome

The aim of the exercise is for the students to discover the resources and potentials that are inherent in their own personal and academic competences. The exercise may contribute to structuring the students’ competence development, which may help them in both their further studies and later on when applying for jobs.

Performing the exercise

  • As a teacher, you must ask the students to find two stories from their studies – for instance projects, exams or challenging situations that they have experienced; situations in which they felt they did well.
  • Then the students conduct an individual reflection exercise (Handout 1) (Awaiting translation) in which they run a brainstorm and jot down a few key points about their stories based on questions in the handout.
    (six minutes):
  • The students then team up in pairs and take turns to tell their stories on the basis of the key points (five minutes per person). The listener may ask questions that inspire the narrator to add further details to their stories. The listener must focus on listening for details that the narrator is not ware of.
  • Once both stories have been told, the listener may reflect, comment and add unidentified (by the narrator) competences. The pairs now follow up on each student’s competences mentioned in the stories (Handout 2) (Awaiting translation) (Three minutes per person).
  • Finally, the students consider and discuss with their partners a number of reflection questions from Handout 3 (Awaiting translation) (Three minutes per person).
  • The students must take (and keep) a photo of the key points, the list of competences, and the reflection sheets from handouts 1, 2 and 3. Tell the students that this material can be used in a job application context, for instance to describe working methods and competences in a job interview or as input for their CVs.


  • The exercise may be carried out online by students writing their reflections in for instance a joint blog. The students can then comment, read and be inspired by their fellow students’ reflections. At the same time, you as a teacher will get a better idea as to which competences the students consider themselves to possess.


    Examples of practice

      Links and materials for this activity:

      You will need:

      • Download the attached handouts here:

      Read more:

      • How can the exercise be included in the course you are teaching?
      • At which stage in the students’ programme will it be meaningful to introduce this exercise?